purple and gold
Who wants a basic coffee? Perhaps someone does, at times even I want something basic. Basic as in, it doesn’t veer to far left or right in its flavor notes or in its ability to arouse an interaction from me other than, this is a good cup of coffee.
However, Not Even Coffee Roasters Sambewe is anything but basic. This is the first coffee I’ve ordered from out of the United States since being relegated to home because of Covid-19. As much as I miss going to coffee shops, where I usually consume most of my coffee by having a barista craft a cup for me, I’ve leaned into this time to reacquaint myself with making coffee at home. I’m happy to share that I’ve rediscovered the delightful ritual of the simple and at times complex act and art of making coffee – over extracting, spilling it, burning it, and drinking it.
With thousands of roasters out there, I discovered Not Even Coffee Roasters by exploring Instagram with the goal of finding a new coffee roaster to try, one I hadn’t heard of and one that could excite me either by its packaging or coffee story alone. Not Even Coffee Roasters won the game I played with myself, with its packaging which shared the colors of my beloved basketball team, The Los Angeles Lakers. Do I believe the colors of the bag above played a subliminal part on my visual consciousness and years of rooting for a team that my dad and family and I have loved? Of course!
I believe that a lot of my choices and other consumers as well, have subliminal undertones that speak to cookies recessed in our emotions that ping to our likes, preferences and affections. Enter a purple background, a yellow speckled cat with a mouth agape, mimicking the activity that would one day – about three weeks after I ordered it – arrive to pacify my eagerness, to drink this coffee from a country known for producing coffees that are fruity and berry forward.
I now keep an excel coffee log of all coffees I order. Sambewe is the first Tanzanian coffee I would drink this year. Sambewe is a washed coffee of the Kent variety from Mbozi, Tanzania. Culture has it, that in Tanzanian “ripe cherries were be boiled, then smoked for several days and chewed rather than brewed into a drink,” according to The World Atlas of Coffee.
However, I brewed it – 45 grams to 400g of filtered water on a V60 with a metal Hario filter. The bag noted friar plum, vanilla and molasses. My dry nose smell gave me sweet dark plums, which I love and a whiff of brown sugar. The wet smell circulated caramelized brown sugar and plum, as if the sugar was incense burning, with a sweet jam scent in the air. Upon actual taste, I got sweet plum jam and a low note of vanilla like, as if I I was eating a chunky slice of plum pie with melted Bourbon vanilla bean ice cream. Bourbon vanilla beans are at once sweet and a little smoky which might account for the molasses that Not Even Coffee Roasters mentioned. I have this on the cooler summer mornings, when the fog is dense and the sun has yet to fully shine on the palm trees and Sambewe’s Bourbon notes, internally warm me while leaving a kiss of sweetness in the finish.
Drink with Supply and Demand by Wilder Woods